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Sitana marudhamneydhal DEEPAK, KHANDEKAR, VARMA & CHAITANYA, 2016

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymSitana marudhamneydhal DEEPAK, KHANDEKAR, VARMA & CHAITANYA 2016 
DistributionIndia (Tamil Nadu)

Type locality: Kallidaikurichi, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, India (8°39’54” N; 77°27’15” E), 68 m elevation  
Reproductionoviparous. Breeding males were observed during the month of September and October. Hatchlings were recorded during the month of January. 
TypesHolotype: NCBS AQ460, an adult male (Fig. 6 in Deepak et al. 2016), collected on 12 November 2014 by V. Deepak and R. Chaitanya. Paratypes CES 141124, an adult male from Kallidaikurichi, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, India (8°39’54” N; 77°27’15” E), 68 m elevation, collected on 12 November 2014 by V. Deepak and R. Chaitanya. BNHS 2313 an adult female from Kanyakumari, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu, India (8°4’45” N 77°31’55” E), 68 m elevation, collected on 10 January 2014 by V. Deepak 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A large-sized Sitana with a maximum SVL of 55 mm, distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: 1) dewlap extending beyond forearm insertion (vs not extending in S. sivalensis complex including S. kalesari); 2) highly serrated dewlap (vs faintly serrated in S. spinaecephalus and S. laticeps); 3) large dewlap extending over up to 64% of trunk vs S. ponticeriana (46%), S. bahiri (29%), S. devakai (33%) and S. visiri (56%), 4. Large body size (average SVL) 51 mm vs S. bahiri (Rameshwaram population 42.1 mm; Sri Lankan population 34 mm), S. devakai 35 mm, S. visiri 50 mm and S. ponticeriana 40.5 mm, 5. Fewer dorsal scales (39–40) vs S. visiri (41–50).
CommentHabitat: coastal sand dunes, grassland habitats, open areas dominated with Prosopis juliflora and plains in the southern Tamil Nadu.

Sympatry: Eutropis carinata, Eutropis bibronii, and Calotes versicolor 
EtymologyThe species is named for its occurrence in the grassy plains as well as the seashore in Tamil Nadu, India. The specific epithet is derived from a combination of two ancient Tamil words (Tamil: Marudham = cultivable grasslands, Neydhal = land by the seashore). 
  • Deepak, V., Karanth, P. 2017. Aridification driven diversification of fan-throated lizards from the Indian subcontinent. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • DEEPAK, V.; AKSHAY KHANDEKAR, SANDEEP VARMA, R. CHAITANYA 2016. Description of a new species of Sitana Cuvier, 1829 from southern India. Zootaxa 4139 (2): 167–182 - get paper here
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